OC hands inquiry reports to Speaker

National, Normal


THE Ombudsman Commission has ended its own inquiry into the controversial Julian Moti affair and presented its final report yesterday together with two other high profile investigations to Speaker Jeffery Nape’s office.
The other two are the appointment and conduct of Hamish Sharp in the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) and the alleged unlawful entry of a premises and abuse of human rights by police that caused public outrage in 2004, where several sex workers were allegedly abused.
These reports must be tabled in the next Parliament sitting next March, as required by law.
Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, back in office after he was almost gunned down by criminals a fortnight ago, said the commission, in exercising its discretion under section 23 of the Organic Law on Ombudsman, considered these cases of public interest.
For the Moti affair, the report covered the entry, arrest, detention, bail and transportation into Solomon Islands.
Mr Moti was recently exonerated by a high court in Brisbane, Australia, regarding child sex offences in several Pacific nations.
On that note, Mr Manek said whatever the current standing was in regards to Mr Moti, did not apply to those who were involved in the affair in PNG and as required by law the commission had conducted investigations and made recommendations.
For Mr Sharp’s case, the report covered allegations that proper appointment procedures were not applied and that there was conflict of interests in the NMSA board decisions.
Regarding the report on police brutality, Mr Manek said the investigation into the matter commenced following that on March 12, 2004, the police, without a search warrant, entered and raided the Three-Mile Guest House in Port Moresby.
The report highlighted irregularities and non-compliance of search, entry, arrest and bail procedures and also highlighted human rights abuses and gender discrimination based on the misinterpretation of law on people living on the earnings of prostitution.
“We have gone through an exhaustive and adverse investigation process and whatever recommendations put forward in our report must be acted upon,” he said, adding the onus was now on the Speaker’s office to table the reports.
Specific details of the reports will only be made public after tabling in Parliament.
The onus is now on Mr Nape to table the report to Parliament within eight sitting days.
“The Speaker is required to do this,” he said.
Mr Manek was not at ease to comment further on what would happen if the report was not tabled or what would transpire after the tabling.
“The Ombudsman Commission has played its role as required by law and it’s up to Parliament … but I believe the recommendations must be acted upon,” he said.
He added that all queries relating to the disclosure of the report should be directed to Mr Nape’s office.